A wealthy family allegedly used a personal shoplifter to acquire some of life’s finer things - Baccarat crystal and Armani suits - until their five-finger discounter turned informant and they got stung.
The family simply made a list of things they wanted from a nearby Dayton’s department store and had a convicted thief lift the items for them, paying him a fraction of the retail cost, authorities said Friday.
“Why they did it, I don’t know,” said Officer Robert Hawley, who found racks of clothing in a spare bedroom at the family’s home.
“She’s a very attractive lady. He’s a very distinguished man. The son looks like something out of GQ magazine. They can live the lifestyle without doing this,” he said.
Gerald Dick, a 58-year-old dentist, his 56-year-old wife, Judy, and two of their children - James Dick, 32, who played for the Minnesota Vikings briefly in 1987, and Stacy Zehren, 33, an attorney - each were charged Thursday with one count of attempting to receive stolen property and one count of conspiring to receive stolen property.
Their undoing, police said, began a week before with the arrest of Gregory E. Thomas, who told police he sold about $250,000 worth of goods to the family over the years - although police said that claim was not substantiated.
Thomas claimed the family previously bailed him out of jail and sent him money while he was in prison for earlier theft convictions.
After Thomas was arrested while picking up items in the store, he and a Dayton’s investigator went to the Dick home. The investigator posed as a store employee who could steal items for them.
The dentist and his wife live in a $400,000 brick house nestled behind pine trees along a lane that a handful of doctors call home. Their son and daughter were in the house at the time of the sting.
The four family members have no criminal histories. They are expected to turn themselves in to police within seven days. The maximum penalty on a charge of receiving stolen property is five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
“The surprising thing isn’t the $42,000 in stolen property we confiscated, but the fact that this was a very respected family and they had the means to afford these things,” Hawley told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis.